10 December 2019

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Aditya Chauhan: The Innovative Entrepreneur

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Have you ever thought that some kind of empathy opens doors to a career? “Yes"!!!! says Aditya Singh Chauhan, an MBA graduate from Symbiosis Pune, with his start up Cornucopia Weekend Planners CWP). Chauhan’s grit and his joining with like-minded people culminated in the formation of CWP in April 2009

“We do feel for the working professionals and students. They are buckled down throughout the week and look forward for a refreshing weekend to compensate with. But, when weekend comes, many are either jaded or simply get too lazy to plan something exciting and end up simply rambling in a nearby mall, multiplex, restaurant, or a pub without exploring the exuberant options that are around. So we shrieks at them- You ain't doing justice to yourselves”

The aggressive young entrepreneur says: “The most pleasurable part of my life is after I started working full-time on CWP with support from friends and family. Mumbaikers, media, and fellow entrepreneurs has been overwhelming at CWP being a totally new and innovative concept. The high growth rate on a bootstrap model start-up venture is setting an example for the budding entrepreneurs.

Many people might have wished that that there could be someone to take care of their weekends covering every part of lifestyle experience; someone would like to think of from Discs to Restaurants to Movies to Adventure Sports to Social Life and more. CWP is a realisation of this. We ensure that our clients have enough options every weekend to explore and rejuvenate themselves.

The service offered to our members is a customised mail sent to them, every Wednesday which provides updates regarding various turn-on options available in and around the city, for the forthcoming weekend. The options are provided on the basis of their preferences listed by them at the time of joining. It can be anything like discotheques/ pubs, restaurants, movies, art exhibitions, concerts, yoga & meditation, adventure sports, hobby classes, spa/salons, health and fitness, events, social work, outings/ resorts. This helps them to plan their weekends ahead of time and try newer options every week.

We keep coming up with many new ideas to hook our members excited. Besides turn-on' options we have Honeymoon Packages, Outbound Adventure Camps, Wedding Planning/ Management, Corporate Events/ Parties/ Lunches,  National and International DJs, 'Siesta' for Private Parties, Art Shows, Poetry Reading, and other classy events to happen.

We have affiliations with all types of weekend options possible and good discounts to our Paid Members. Besides, we have Monthly Events with a free entry for our members and various competitions amongst customers based on their weekend activity participation. To become a member you will have to pay a small annual amount to avail the services.  

How did this concept come into yur mind?

The Concept hit me when me and my friend (a college mate) while we were sitting on the middle of a road next to my PG in Pune, thinking of a business idea to participate in The Times of India -Business Planning Contest in the year 2006.The catch of the whole competition was that we need to come up with a business plan with an initial investment not more than Rs.10 lakhs. So, we had to brainstorm over extremely smart and innovative ideas with least capital required and at the same time, with high returns. It was fun at that time and I did not know that I would actually take it up to this level after 3 years of passing from the college and working for 2 years.

The venture is named from Greek Mythology signifying ‘Abundance and Prosperity’. Cornucopia symbolises the horn of the goat that suckled Zeus, which broke off and became filled with whatever its owner desired.

Under this umbrella we had initiated a number of creative and first of its kind events in and around Mumbai, like Marshal Arts on Beach, Trek to Pethgarh, Discover Scuba Diving, Communication Skills Workshop and the response from members, mumbaikars and media has been  overwhelming and this kept us in high spirits, inspite of the many operational difficulties faced.

How did entrepreneurship become a passion for you?

I realised that if I have a dream and want to get away from the rat race, I will have to leapfrog. It can only happen when everything is under one’s control.

Well CWP is not Chauhan’s first entrepreneurial venture. The first one he now calls a mistake. “I was an amateur entrepreneur and attempted to start a firm with a few friends. It’s not easy to get professional with friends, and I realised that it could ruin my relation with them. It was a big mistake.”

Please tell us about the initial hurdles faced and the way it worked out?

As CWP has been a Bootstrap model, the biggest initial hurdle which we still face at times is to make aware our prospective members of this whole Weekend Lifestyle Solutions Concept and clarify that we are not an event management company or a nightlife organiser or a discount card company which already existing in the market.

It took a while for people to understand the concept. We still face this issue where people come with a prejudiced mindset and we end up purifying them from inside. But, once they understand the whole CWP concept, we always hear one line from them - "This is an amazing concept! How do I become a Member?"

What are your future plans?

We are looking forward to our initial expansion plans in cities like Delhi and Pune after which we shall look at Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahemdabad, Chandigarh and then to go international. We are in touch with some interested parties at national and international levels to become our local partners in these cities. Hope to start the expansions soon.

We are also looking at many more Weekend Specific services in future. Apart from CWP, Cornucopia India Group is also looking at various options to diversify in several other interesting web based or offline businesses.

Plans are there to partner with travel, tourism and hospitality sectors for providing services to the tourists visiting these cities. We also plan one national and one international l meet to have all the CWP members together for a global connection.” 

CWP started its paid membership from April 2009 and since then we have been able to have more than 500 members and more than 70 strong affiliations” he narrates in high spirits.

It is not necessary that everyone jumping into business should become successful. What is yoour take n this?

“Be ready to go through an excessive amount of pressure. Get into any business, only when you are sure that you are extremely passionate about the idea and would stick to it like a DO OR DIE situation”. He continues – “Don't expect others to understand your situation, only an Entrepreneur can understand you and empathise as well” says Chauhan

“Listen to everyone, take their feedback and suggestion but follow your instincts and heart. Its only your passion which will drive you to success as it will show in each and every part of your work and hence in your team as well. And most importantly, before taking a serious step of leaving your job or any such decision, make sure you have survival money without expecting anything from the business for at least initial 6-12 months”.

It’s the challenges and the confidence that helps Chauhan stay buckled on to his venture. Let us hope more Chauhans will come up with innovative ideas and daring to work it out, for a better and brighter India.


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